Friday, May 24, 2019

How Could Education Reformers Get it So Wrong? - Living in Dialogue

How Could Education Reformers Get it So Wrong? - Living in Dialogue

How Could Education Reformers Get it So Wrong?
A Review of The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch, Part 2



This is a second post reviewing The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch.    Part one summarized Ravitch’s essays from 2010, which was the time when corporate reform pivoted from what she called “the Death Star of education,” NCLB, to “the Executioner,” her term for the Race to the Top which spearheaded the Obama administration’s and the Billionaires Boys Club’s attempt to “blow up” the education “status quo,” in a failed attempt to produce “disruptive” and “transformative” reforms.
Had NCLB’s architects bothered to read education history and social science research, they would have learned that education scholars mostly agreed with Ravitch that, “No other nation tests every student every year,” and “No high-quality system judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students.” Had the Obama administration taken the time to listen to researchers and practitioners, it might have realized that his administration dramatically increased drill-and-kill malpractice by mandating the use of statistical models that Ravitch correctly described as “fundamentally flawed,” and “inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable.”
For instance, Ravitch draws upon the work of Dan Koretz, who “excoriates the reform movement for its indifference to the harm it caused.” Koretz, as well as Ravitch, makes a sophisticated, carefully worded, scientific case against the testing imposed under the Bush and, especially, the Obama administrations. It’s not surprising that impatient corporate reformers didn’t want to take the time to read such complex science. But there is no excuse for their failure to pay attention to this specific harm cited by Koretz. How could they not face up to the damage that would inherently result from teaching kids that there is just “one ‘right answer,’” as opposed to asking the “right question?”
NCLB did terrible damage to schools, but it held only about 1/5thof educators accountable for increasing test scores. The novice reformers didn’t understand why value-added teacher evaluations, that were CONTINUE READING: How Could Education Reformers Get it So Wrong? - Living in Dialogue

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